The pandemic saw the birth of hundreds of startups across India, particularly active in the Ed-Tech sector, and while we’ve seen several Ed-Tech startups mushroom that teaches in English, there are a few that have brought forward the India First approach and chosen to teach in the Mother Tongue. One such startup is Avodha.com, launched in the middle of the pandemic on June 23rd, 2020, the company has grown rapidly to cover much of India, having offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Kochi, Bangalore, Coimbatore, and Hyderabad. With a workforce of 500 employees and over 1500 freelancers, the company continues to expand with its 24-year-old Founder Joseph E George looking to set up offices in the Middle East soon. “Any company that aims to become the leading player globally in teaching the masses in their mother tongue must come from India because India is the land of languages,” says Joseph who is confident that the next trend in edtech will be towards teaching people in their mother tongue and believes that this trend will be global. As per Forbes over 770-990 million people in India are unable to speak or understand English, more than a third of the rest are unable to speak or read fluently. The situation on the ground is turning uneven fast for non-English speakers. If all knowledge is stored up in English, What would happen to the hundreds of millions of individuals who remain outside this net, if knowledge itself is locked up, development is a far-off possibility altogether. Breaking this language barrier is not easy for any company, the core challenge faced by a lot of the companies that are trying to teach the vernacular (mother tongue) speaking population in India would be the cost involved in creating and managing these classes. However, Avodha has broken the barrier on this as well, “The biggest challenge when serving vernacular and rural India would be the lack of purchasing power”, a highly-priced product will lead to greater friction in the decision making process of the student or the student’s parents, at the same time we couldn’t sacrifice margins either”, says Joseph on how he can provide over 23 courses in 5 languages with Live classes for a low ticket size.
Avodha has brought forth a unique pricing structure wherein the student pays a small amount upfront which is roughly 25% of the overall fees and the remainder is paid after the student can land a job related to the course they have studied with Avodha. This ensures that Avodha can maintain its margins and cost-effectively run the business. “The business has been completely bootstrapped from Day 1 and the revenue from the Income Sharing Agreement is crucial to the growth and sustenance of the company”, when asked why he feels the company is ready for an expansion to the middle east, Joseph claims there are millions of individuals in the middle east that speak the language Arabic, Urdu, Pashtun, and other languages, therefore he believes that a product like this will be useful to the people in the region.
Avodha also runs an independent jobs platform wherein corporates can come in and post entry-level jobs, leveraging the jobs platform and its popularity Avodha is able to provide jobs for its students at a large scale, placing them in companies like Bank of Baroda, TCS, Infosys, and SBI Caps. Avodha also uses advanced Data Science to be able to map the skill gaps in a person’s profile, using they are able to create an ecosystem wherein the system recognizes the skill gap in Individual profiles and builds learning and testing solutions accordingly. When asked how Avodha is able to understand the skill sets needed by companies, they say that they use scraping algorithms to extract the job descriptions from various job postings available online, and since
this data is available in the millions they are able to pinpoint exactly what is needed by the companies since the job descriptions available online will be an accurate reflection of the hiring requirement and candidate qualification threshold for the companies. Using these attributes Avodha has been able to assist the placement of over 70,000 individuals in the span of its existence using its jobs platform.
In the interest of maintaining course variety to provide students with options, Avodha has launched Hardware courses, Mobile Phone engineers, Laptop Engineer, AC engineers, and Electric Vehicle Engineer, and some of its flagship courses in this segment. While hardware courses are extremely common in the west, Avodha is the first platform in India to launch a collection of Hardware courses online.
(Disclaimer: Brand desk content)